NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees wound up with an AL wild-card spot Saturday, beating Toronto 2-1 on Aaron Judge’s 52nd home run shortly before Boston clinched the AL East crown.
New York needed two wins and two losses by Boston to force a tiebreaker Monday at Yankee Stadium. Instead, the Yankees will host Minnesota in the wild-card game Tuesday.
The wild-card winner will face Cleveland in the best-of-five AL Division Series. Boston, which beat Houston about 20 minutes after the Yankees won, is set to take on the Astros in the playoffs.
Replacement starter CC Sabathia (14-5) won his fifth straight decision. With the Yankees still in contention for the division title to begin the day, manager Joe Girardi opted for Sabathia to pitch on his regular four days’ rest in place of the originally scheduled Jaime Garcia.
The veteran left-hander didn’t disappoint, allowing four hits and striking out six over 5 2/3 shutout innings. The Yankees (91-70) improved to a season-high 21 games over .500.
Sabathia’s only close call came with one out in the sixth, when Ryan Goins lifted a fly to deep right which was snagged by a fan reaching over the wall. The initial ruling on the field was interference, which was challenged and upheld after a 38-second review.
Goins got a double and was stranded when Sabathia fanned Teoscar Hernandez and reliever Chad Green retired Josh Donaldson on a flyout.
Sabathia is 5-0 with a 2.93 ERA in eight starts since returning from the DL on Aug. 19. His 237 career wins put him ahead of Whitey Ford for sole possession of 16th place among left-handers on the all-time list.
Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 26 chances.
Judge hit a drive estimated at 484 feet in the fourth, the shot landing on a walkway behind the left-field bleachers. Judge leads the AL in home runs, and tied Mickey Mantle (1956) for eighth place on the club’s single-season list.
It was the rookie slugger’s 33rd homer at Yankee Stadium, passing Babe Ruth (1921) for the highest single-season home total in franchise history. Judge is 6 for 12 against Marcus Stroman (13-9) with three home runs.
Toronto scored in the eighth on Donaldson’s sacrifice fly.
Yankees: Judge was in the lineup at DH, which Girardi considered a half-day off. He planned on giving Judge a full day of rest at some point, but hadn’t gotten an opportunity with the club still trying to catch Boston.
Blue Jays: LHP Brett Anderson (4-4, 6.97 ERA overall with Toronto and the Cubs) is winless in six career starts against New York.
Yankees: LHP Jordan Montgomery (9-7, 3.96 ERA) will make his 29th start of the season, fifth most by a rookie in team history.
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